The Left and Ron Paul

Can a liberal vote for Ron Paul?

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Unknown Wednesday, January 2, 2008 at 11:16:00 PM CST  

Certainly the classic "liberal" can, or the Whig in F.A.Hayek's formulation. (Btw, John, while I'm at it, I couldn't find a drop of "ad hominem" in his essay, although he certainly spoke sharply of conservatives - "excoriated", in your words. And to speak my mind frankly, someone like you who says that Satan would be the one offended by comparison with VP Cheney, places himself in a rather vulnerable moral position if he did, wouldn't you say?)

But in any event, the word "liberal" has become degraded, first by the New Dealers, who made it a sort of quasi-socialist, and more recently by the abortion "pro-choicers", who would often sound little different from the "conservatives" but for that one issue. Such "liberals" as these would have a difficult time supporting Representive Paul. That'd be my guess, anyway.

John Médaille Wednesday, January 2, 2008 at 11:53:00 PM CST  

Mel, you need to look up the meaning of ad hominem.

As far as Darth Cheney and other merchants of death go, I have no problem with my remarks, certainly not from a moral standpoint. I do have a problem with any who would condone such people.

Ben Thursday, January 3, 2008 at 7:35:00 AM CST  

It really depends on your view of the roll of the government. Some liberals lean libertarian...others more towards a positive roll of government. I think that is really going to determine if a liberal will go to bat for someone like Ron.

Abe Thursday, January 3, 2008 at 3:09:00 PM CST  

Thanks for posting that. The link is already out of date. Try this URL:

Unknown Saturday, January 5, 2008 at 6:00:00 AM CST  

John, first my apologies for using ad hominem to describe what was not that. I'd noticed some rather loose usage of the term on the yahoo site (I'm a member, but not under this name), and I was rather upset by a number of your personal attacks, so my emotions got the better of my reason. So what do you find in Hayek's essay that deserves the title of AH, classic or otherwise?

About your attacks: I see that "...said..." agrees with me in finding them both distasteful and counterproductive to the distributist cause. (These remarks are in the comment section to "Social Insecurity".) Or perhaps better, since (s)he said it first, I agree with him or her. This seems particularly relevant due to a sensitivity the yahoo group has when we feel maltreated. I refer to a number of missives sent by Roy Moore, leader of the group as he is one here, about and another online Catholic site whose name escapes me now. Roy was upset about these, and a number of others were outraged by it. But how can we expect others to treat us fairly when we won't return the favor? That's bothered me for a while, and I think you should be more bothered by your remarks than you say you are.

One final point. You are, I gather (from overwhelming evidence, it must be said) that you are a devout Catholic. Fine, but that strikes me as posing a bit of an historical problem for you. Each of the Crusades, which so often brutalized native populations, was sanctioned, I believe, by a Pope. (Excepting the Children's Crusade, but the evidence for that being non-fictional is apparently rather weak.) And this must include the Cathar/Albigensian crusade, which wiped out a considerable part of the populace of the French areas. So too did a Pope agree to: the division of the world between the Spanish and Portuguese imperialists; the Spanish and other inquisitions; the destruction of the Knights Templars; and a few other such things, perhaps not as bloodthirsty. Would you describe these leaders of your church in the same terms as you use for the vice-president?

John Médaille Saturday, January 5, 2008 at 9:28:00 AM CST  

Mel, what "personal attacks" are you talking about?

As for Hayek, his essay described what he called "conservatives" in entirely psychological (and pejorative) terms. This is the essence of the ad hominem. For example, he describes conservatism as an attitude of opposition to drastic change, and a fear of change, a timid distrust of the new as such. He charges that it is the conservatives rather than the liberals who have have compromised with socialism. And he charges that conservatives have a fondness for authority and its lack of understanding of economic forces. This last is somewhat ironic coming from Hayek, who distrusted democracy and had a predeliction for dictators, as witness his support of Pinochet. It was Friedman who got the blame for this, but it was Hayek who actually did the work of "shock treatments."

Notice that Hayek uses terms like "fondness," "attitude," "distrust," etc., terms which go to the man (ad hominem) and not the argument. The problem with such arguments is that they are always true in every situation; one can always argue the personal traits of your opponent and avoid the issues. Certainly, your opposite will always have some personal traits to which a legitimate objection can be raised. Of course, such traits are irrelevant to the argument.

As for your digression on the crusades, I do not get your point. Are you saying that since any number of popes have been unjust, Catholics lose their right to object to unjust presidents? I reject that argument out of hand.

Anonymous,  Wednesday, January 9, 2008 at 7:45:00 AM CST  

After reading the TNR article and reading a couple of issues of the Ron Paul Report there is no way I could vote for Paul. While it may be hard to substantiate some of the claims in the article... a newsletter with his name has racist overtones, ignorant statements, and a whole heck of a lot of stupidity. I've had enough of a stupid president...

See link to article:

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